Raw data

On Tuesday, I participated in a webinar during which I presented the results of a research report prepared for the Book Industry Study Group (BISG). In previous posts, I've provided an overview of the process recommendations and opportunities to "future-proof" metadata that came out of the research report.

The research, which includes background on current practices of both senders and receivers as well as the results of 30 interviews and 125 responses to a North American-wide survey, also identified three categories of metadata that may benefit from additional review. These categories include:

  • Additional metadata elements (39 were suggested)
  • Discarded or modified elements (BISAC codes are mentioned most frequently)
  • Problematic uses of metadata elements (potentially differing definitions)

Those who suggested additional elements are not necessarily looking for a new field. Some of the ideas reflect an interest in data not fully or effectively supported by ONIX 2.1. Of the 39 suggestions, the majority (23) were ideas that could help better market physical and digital products.

Our research found that little data is truly discarded, but it can be set aside. We found instances in which data is not used, or it is not used fully, as is the case when a recipient chooses a subset of BISAC codes to roll up into a retailing category. We also found instances in which data is modified. Age ranges and styled text were mentioned frequently as examples here.

Finally, the research uncovered 16 instances in which senders and receivers seem to be interpreting data requirements differently. The most frequently mentioned examples include page count, age range, on sale and pub dates as well as several aspects of territorial rights.

I'll post a link when the full report is made available by BISG.

Edited June 25 to add: The metadata report is now available through BISG. The full report is offered for $199 (members) and $499 (non-members). An executive summary, part of the full report, is available without charge to members and for $49 for non-members.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.